News from Iran: The Skiing is Great

Looking for a more exotic ski holiday? Head for Tehran.

Remember that nuclear deal that the U.S., Iran, and five other countries finally agreed to earlier this month? As fun as that is, the LA Times found another reason to throw press coverage toward Iran this morning—this time in the Travel section. It’s an interesting choice for a vaca considering political unrest and human rights issues, but there are also beautiful mountains to be discovered. And lift tickets cost about $20 to $25 a day at ski resorts as close as a few hours north of its capital Tehran.

You can count on long powder runs and a vertical drop of over 3,000 feet at ski area in Iran. PHOTO: Courtesy of Ski Emotion Iran
You can count on long powder runs and the vertical drop of over 3,000 feet in Iran. PHOTO: Courtesy of Ski Emotion Iran

Even the fashion mag Vogue considers skiing in the area to be, well, in vogue. “Iran is known for its historical cities and gorgeous Islamic art, but much less for its other great source of pride: mountains. In all four corners of Tehran, they rise in endless clusters, green and brown ridges that turn white in winter and, unbeknownst to many Westerners, conceal stunning ski resorts.”

In all four corners of Tehran, they rise in endless clusters, green and brown ridges that turn white in winter and, unbeknownst to many Westerners, conceal stunning ski resorts.

From December through May, you can carve big mountain turns at Dizin Ski Resort, sitting at 8,500 feet in the Alborz Mountains. North Carolina-based trip planners, Iran Luxury Travel, which organizes trips to the ski resort (and helps with annoying things like visa applications), says Dizin is best for intermediate and experienced skiers and boarders. With a lift that tops out at 11,482 feet, you’ll have access to terrain for all abilities.

Looking for a challenge (besides trying to read a trail map in Persian)? Shemshak resort has more advanced terrain plus it’s been said Iranian’s don’t tend to venture far off-piste, so you’ll find little competition for the fresh stash.

With summits higher than many Alpine resorts, and Iran’s dry climate, these resorts boasts some seriously sweet powder. And the surrounding scenery is fantastic. Iranian skiing is so great, in fact, former Swiss freestyle competitors Arnaud Cottet and Benoit Goncerut started running freestyle competitions in the area in a project called, We Ride in Iran.

In January, Vogue reported new lifts have been built to link neighboring resorts to each other, which sounds a lot like Iran making moves to be one of the most appealing ski destinations in the world. That is, if folks can get over the fear and stigma surrounding travel to the Middle East. A lift ticket in Iran comes with this notice: “Clients are expected to behave according to the principles of the Islamic law.” Tone down the PBR pounding and stay focused on the skiing—it looks excellent.